The Eagles wide receiver production has been abysmal all season, and it has caused Carson Wentz to struggle at times. Alshon Jeffery has been inconsistent, Desean Jackson is on IR, and Nelson Agholor is ranked as the worst receiver in the NFL by PFF’s ranking. Mack Hollins is often just on the field to run around, second-round rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside has only three catches this season despite being drafted above DK Metcalf and Terry McLaurin, and Jordan Matthews is far from productive. The Eagles need help at the receiver position, and here five potential players they could sign.
Signing J.J Nelson wouldn’t be the most attractive of signings, but he would certainly help the Eagles as a deep threat. Comparing to Desean Jackson, Nelson is super fast, and cornerbacks often have trouble staying in front of him. At the NFL Draft combine, he ran a blazing fast 4.28 time. That in mind, Nelson is undersized for a receiver, and has struggled with drops; his career catch percentage is a low 45.7%. Remind you of someone else? (looking at you Agholor).
In his rookie season for the Arizona Cardinals, Nelson averaged an insane 27.2 yards per reception and added two touchdowns. After four decent seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, Nelson signed with the Raiders in the offseason but got cut after two games with the team. He isn’t the world’s most attractive option due to his size and bad hands, but he would easily be the Eagles’ best deep threat as long as D-Jax is on IR. Not to mention, Nelson is only 27 years old.
4.Greg Ward Jr.
Similarly to Nelson, Ward Jr. could help the Eagles but isn’t necessarily the most attractive option. Ward Jr. lost the Eagles final receiver roster spot in August to Mack Hollins. Over the last seven weeks, Hollins has just one catch for 13 yards while playing 237 offensive snaps. An absolute travesty right there. I don’t think it’s possible for Ward Jr. to be worse than Hollins.
Ward Jr. has tried out for the Eagles each of the last three preseasons and gotten cut each year. He was briefly called up this season in week three but played all of two offensive snap before he got sent back down to the practice squad. Ward is good with the ball in open space, and he’s shown that in the preseason in past years. While he won’t be a significant factor for the Eagles, he’s undoubtedly better than Mack Hollins, and it’s a low-risk option.
While Crabtree is well past his prime, he would be an upgrade at the receiver position for the Eagles. After the 2016 season, where Crabtree racked up over 1,000 receiving yards for the Raiders, his career has been on the decline. After an underwhelming season with Baltimore last season, he got cut by the Ravens. Crabtree had a cup of coffee with Arizona earlier this season but has been a free agent since week four.
While he isn’t the vertical threat or route-runner he once was, Crabtree can still be a productive receiver at age 32. He would be cheap to bring in, and would also be a mentor to rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside as they are similar in play style. Crabtree, at this point in his career, is almost like the Walmart version of Alshon Jeffery. His days of fighting Aqib Talib and Richard Sherman may be over, but he can still help out this receiving core.
Can Dez Bryant get his revenge on Jerry Jones for releasing him? Bryant was cut after several pro-bowl seasons with Dallas and signed with New Orleans last season. During his first practice with the team, Bryant popped his Achilles and was subsequently ruled out for the season. On November 7th, Bryant tweeted that his leg was feeling good, and he was ready to come back.
Imagine how sweet it would be if Bryant torched Dallas and possibly helped Philadelphia win the division in week 16, after years of Philly’s cornerbacks not being able to contain him. Bryant is now almost two years removed from playing in an NFL game and has likely lost his speed after the injury. However, he is still a great jump ball catcher, and would likely become the number two or one receiver. He’ll probably sign for cheap, so Howie Roseman should make a play for him.
1. Antonio Brown
Say what you want about his personality and all of the off-field issues surrounding him right now, Antonio Brown is still one of the best receivers in football. And the question here is, why not? What’s the worst thing that could happen: he makes an ass of himself and immediately gets put on commissioner’s exempt list and is released? If so, who cares. The Eagles need wide receiver production. Carson Wentz can’t make plays when his receivers can’t catch or get open; having AB would solve those problems for as long as Philly can have him.
Antonio Brown had over 1,000 yards receiving, 100 catches, and nine touchdowns in every season from 2013-2018. Sure he’s a diva, but he’s also a Hall-of-Famer who still has some prime seasons left in the tank. He’ll sign for cheap, and Carson Wentz has never had a receiver even close to as electric as Brown. I say go for it.
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